What aspects of the Venus of Willendorf suggest a focus on fertility?

This week’s discussion will cover content from the Week 1 module, including reading and media.


  1. Choose ONE of the prompts below to respond to for your original post. Each prompt can only be “used” or written about four times maximum among the class as a whole.
  2. When you create a new thread, give it a title that clearly shows the topic of your post (example: “Prompt A: Venus of Willendorf” or an original title such as “The Woman of Willendorf — Not a Venus”)
  3. Your answer to the prompt should be a minimum of 150 words and must use at least two quotations or other specific references to the original reading/media
  4. If you quote, you must indicate any quotations with ”   “. All borrowed material must have citations at the end with (      ) according to MLA style.
  5. Please also include a works cited-style entry at the end of your post for any sources you borrowed from, even if you put the ideas in your own words.
  6. Grading: 30 points for original post, 15 points each for replies.

Before you post, be sure you have read the following documents (in the “Start Here” Module):

  • Requirements for Discussion Posts
  • Important Notice on Plagiarism

For your original post, answer ONE of the following prompts (just click “Reply” to post below):

PROMPT A: What aspects of the Venus of Willendorf suggest a focus on fertility? What conclusions can be drawn from the fact that thousands of these Paleolithic hand-sized figures were found, and almost all of them so far have been female? While this figurine was initially named “Venus” of Willendorf, modern scholars tend to use the term “Woman of Willendorf.” Why is that, and do you agree with their reasoning?

PROMPT B: One of this week’s significant works is the Law Code of Hammurabi, the king of Babylon from 1792-1750 BCE. Click hereLinks to an external site. to read some of the laws included on this stele. Identify three laws that indicate equality among all people, and three laws that indicate injustice, specifically toward women. Which do you think is the best law, and which is the worst, based on this examples of the laws you see here? Explain your answers.

PROMPT C: Based on the Annenberg video on the Epic of Gilgamesh, what makes Gilgamesh such a terrible king at the beginning of the story? How does his friendship with Enkidu seem to affect him? Explain how the flood story connects to Gilgamesh’s quest for immortality.

PROMPT D: Analyze the Bull-Leaping Fresco from the Palace at Knossos. How are men and women portrayed differently from one another in the painting? How do the bulls in the palace symbolically connect to the idea of male strength and virility? What animals or symbols are connected to masculinity today in our culture?

PROMPT E: Compare the Greek gods and goddesses with the deities of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, making reference to a few specific deities from each culture. What do you think is important about the fact that the Greek gods were quite flawed, much like humans? How do you personally react to the idea that gods could be flawed, even petty and immoral? What about the fact that the Greeks did not look to their gods, but to themselves, for morality?

PROMPT F: Compare/contrast the PreSocratic philosophers with Socrates and his followers, as well as the Sophists (the traveling teachers). What approach did each group take to finding the truth? Why did Socrates dislike and disagree so vehemently with the Sophists?

PROMPT G: Watch the video clip from Antigone in this week’s module, and read the background about Sophocles and this play. In your own words, describe the conflict between Antigone, a woman who has been arrested — and Creon, the state ruler and Antigone’s uncle. What are each of their arguments or positions? Then, using a specificcurrent issue, give an example of how this same debate is relevant today.

PROMPT H: Gods and Kings: Examine the top of Hammurabi’s stele (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. with the relief sculpture of Akhenaten and his family (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. from ancient Egypt. Based on these images, describe the relationship each king had with the ruling god(s) at the time. Why was it important to them to have their own images carved in stone with the images of a god, and what messages were these carvings supposed to send? How did Greek leaders align themselves with the gods?

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